Well, it’s been a little quiet around here since the arrival of the novel coronavirus crisis and its accompanying demon COVID-19, which has dealt a pretty severe blow to Portland’s restaurant world. I’ve also spent a month under the weather with some other kind of virus, which has squelched my own sense of inspiration; being sick is a drag. But, I’m finally feeling better and happy to post to this little blog.
Big shout out to some great spots we’ve eaten at during this crisis, in the current to-go/pickup/contactless reality we all live in: Red Sauce Pizza, Laughing Planet, Sa Bai Thai, Burrito Azteca, and Xico. Your food has been awesome with solid social distancing practicies.
I hope each one of you reading this is feeling well, and I send every good wish for continued health. Now, on to the Shake Shack news.
Happy Friday the 13th! So far the spookiest things I’ve seen today have been a strange wintry mix was falling from the sky this morning, and that all the garnet yams were gone from the Safeway. Aside from that, here are some of the things I learned about this week in Portland food.
House Accounts at Bhuna. Local restaurants are looking to alternate ways to keep the cashflow going during this virus crisis, and Bhuna has chosen a kind of pay ahead model. More about these accounts:
“Our community of guests is really important to us. We wanted to get you involved in the continued growth of our restaurant, so we partnered with inKind to introduce House Accounts. House Accounts allow us to reward loyal guests for pre-purchasing their next few meals. You get bonus dining credit to spend at Bhuna, and we get the funds to continue spreading the joy our food brings.”
The credit never expires and they are selling a limited number of accounts. You can participate here.
Inexpensive Eats. The Oregonian put together a list of 40 Best Inexpensive Restaurants this week. Here are some that are located further east:
- Binh Minh Sandwiches, 7821 SE Powell Blvd
- Bun Bo Hue Restaurant, 7002 SE 82nd Avenue
- Du’s Grill, 5365 NE Sandy Blvd
- Ha VL, 2738 SE 82nd Avenue #102
- Rose VL, 6424 SE Powell Blvd
- HK Cafe, 4410 SE. 82nd Avenue
- Master Kong, 8435 SE Division Street
- Pho Oregon, 2518 NE 82nd Avenue
- Pure Spice, 2446 SE. 87th Avenue
- Tortilleria y Tienda de Leon’s, 16223 NE Glisan Street
Salt & Straw’s March 2020 Flavors. I can attest that the Cinnatopia Cinnamon Bun and Salted Caramel Cupcake flavors this month are particularly good. I also hear the Wild Foraged Berry Pie is a major seller right now, too.
How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Portland Restaurant World. Eater has the staff, time and resources to keep track of the broad spectrum of ways COVID-19 is affecting Portland restaurants, so head on over for updates.
Holler, a new spot coming to Sellwood from Doug Adams and Jen Quist of Bullard, has gotten a lot of good press lately—Eater and Vogue, for starters. They hype the fried chicken, and kid-friendly space with arcade games. A recent liquor license application from Holler indicates another detail: a 35-seat ice cream shop operating under the name Lucky You Cold Treats.
Their Instagram indicates a Spring 2020 opening, so we’ll find out more sooner than later. Holler, 7119 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland
Client needs trumped my little blog for a few weeks and paying attention to food news took a back seat. Not this week! Here are four things I learned this week.
It’s Portland Dining Month. An annual month-long event in March in Portland lots of outlets have written about it (try here, here, here, and here for lots of info). Organized by Travel Portland, you can check out over 100 restaurants all over Portland and enjoy prix fixe three-course meals for just $33.
Check out this Taco Crawl map. Reddit user u/savethisplant posted a map to a taco crawl they did in Portland with friends and it’s a decent selection of spots. Personally, I’d add Taco Pedaler, La Osita, and El Gallo to the list; no doubt there are others worth an inclusion.
East Portland (and Gresham) eats. My pal Krista Garcia put together a helpful map of eats east of 205 for Eater Portland. As someone who lives east of 82nd, I love having resources on this side of town and further east. The aforementioned La Osita made the list, thanks in part to their fab breakfast tacos. Check it out.
More Pizza Coming Soon to FoPo. Looks like the Foster-Powell area is getting more pizza—Humdinger Pizza at 9201 SE Foster Road. They submitted a liquor license recently (a Brewery Public House/Full-On Premises license) and my interest is definitely piqued. Looks like developer Chad Rennaker is involved, who has been active in that part of Portland. I look forward to see how it compares to the other pizzerias along and near Foster that have opened relatively recently (Char, Atlas, Otto).
Ever since Yen Ha announced they were closing, neighbors have speculated that the people behind Mekha—located just a little ways up the road at 6846 NE Sandy Blvd—are now somehow involved in the Yen Ha space. I’ve perused a variety of documents online and what is clear is that the owner of Mekha, Long Nguyen, is leading a demolition project in the old Yen Ha (6820 NE Sandy Blvd).
Property records indicate that the owner of 6818-6828 NE Sandy Blvd is Long Nguyen, yet property records also indicated that 6828 NE Sandy Blvd is owned by Duc Tran, owner of Yen Ha. Just a little confusing here. But the folks at Yen Ha have indicated that they will return—perhaps in that building with the help of the Mekha team?
Now, you might think, “why can’t they just cut a doorway between Mekha and Yen Ha and make it a bigger space? There is a little Vietnamese market in between the two buildings, Nam Phuong Market. They’ve been around since 1997, and personally I hope they don’t close with all these changes going on.
A recent permit with the city indicates that Long Nguyen (also serving as the general contractor) is taking out all the non-load-bearing walls in Yen Ha. He and his crew will be remodeling the dining room—walls and ceiling—as well as the kitchen.
Hopefully someone with more access will be able to fill in the missing pieces. Bottom line, though, looks like that space will be home to another restaurant.